Need to put your kitchen in check? From varying up our foods to befriending mason jars, let’s make it a point to know our kitchens are the true “living room”.
BY: LINDSEY CALLIHAN, MS, RD, CD
Have you cleared out your kitchen pantry recently?
Once you’ve properly weeded out the foods you’ve been holding on to, now comes the fun part… it’s time to restock. Here are some ideas that can help you pump your kitchen full of nutrients for the coming season:
1. Buy in bulk.
If you’re lousy with commitment and the idea of buying a two-pound bag of chia seeds makes you nervous, explore the bulk sections at your local grocer to get small portions of foods to try. Whole Foods has a fantastic variety of bulk foods to explore.
2. Store and label.
Storing these foods in airtight containers or mason/canning jars is a great way of preserving their freshness. Don’t forget to label!
3. Try a new dry bean or grain.
Peruse a cookbook to find a great new recipe which features it. Give quinoa, amaranth, wild or purple rice, lentils, or a fancy-named bean a try! Store nuts and seeds in airtight containers to prevent them from spoiling. If you’re an almond-only person, try branching out to pecans, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts or try adding in chia seeds or hemp to your diet.
4. Look for better canned options.
Restock your canned section with sustainably raised canned fish, canned beans, soups, broths, and sauces. Looking for “BPA free” on the can will reduce your exposure to chemicals and free radicals.
5. Go bold with flavor.
Get creative with your spices and add in one or two you’ve never tried. Garam masala is a great addition and can be added to many meals to enhance both flavor and nutritional content. Other ideas are to try Italian herbs, cumin, turmeric, curry, dried peppers and cinnamon.
6. Stock up on frozen foods.
Bulk up your variety of frozen veggies. A giant bag of peas can get boring and go the way of the forgotten frozen kale, but bulking up your freezer with more variety than quantity can improve the likelihood of you enjoying more veggies more frequently. Just make sure to seal them nice and tight when you open them.
When freezing meats or fish, keep your quantities small to avoid wasting food. Purchase these foods with a meal in mind, maybe even write in on the calendar to make sure the food is used when it’s in peak nutrition and quality.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all of this at once!
However, it’s pretty much guaranteed that if you lighten up your kitchen, you’ll free up space for the brighter, better foods to keep you energized in fall. Get creative and enjoy taking a step closer to better nutrition!
Lindsey Callihan, MS, RD, CD is a Seattle-based Registered Dietitian with a passion for food and a desire to help the everyday Joe and Jane better understand real food nutrition. Specializing in vegetarian and vegan nutrition, whole foods, cooking, intuitive eating, and senior nutrition, Lindsey loves to help individuals explore and enjoy how great a healthy life can be.